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Road Safety Act 2006

Section 56: Vehicles modified to run on fuel stored under pressure

202.This section amends (i) section 41 of the RTA, which empowers the Secretary of State to make regulations dealing with the construction and use of vehicles, and (ii) section 66 of the RTA, which empowers the Secretary of State to make regulations prohibiting the grant of vehicle licences except on compliance with certain conditions.

203.The powers to regulate under section 41(2) are extended to cover the modification of vehicles to enable them to be powered by fuel stored under pressure. These provisions would apply to vehicle modification in respect of fuels, such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) which, because they are stored under pressure, have a higher risk of explosion than petrol or diesel stored at ambient pressure. Regulations made under section 41 are enforceable through section 42 of the RTA. Section 42 makes it an offence to contravene or fail to comply with construction and use requirements, or to use on a road a motor vehicle which does not comply with such requirements.

204.There is currently no mechanism for inspecting the safety of alternative fuel vehicle modifications or for preventing vehicles that have been so modified from being used on a road. Vehicles are often modified after they have been registered, and the adequacy of that modification will not be covered by annual MOT tests.

205.Under the new section 41(2A) powers, the Secretary of State could introduce a new scheme, requiring modified vehicles to be tested by authorised examiners and issued with a new form of certificate verifying satisfactory modification. Examiners could be authorised by the Secretary of State in accordance with the regulations. Authorised examiners could be required to notify the Secretary of State of any vehicle modification carried out (whether or not a certificate was issued).

206.Once regulations under section 41(2) are made, the Secretary of State could provide under existing powers for the annual MOT test to check the continuing safety of any alternative fuel modifications on a vehicle.

207.The section also amends section 66 to enforce the new certification provisions through the vehicle licensing regime (under which it is an offence to drive without a valid vehicle licence). The new section 66(7A) will ensure that evidence of a certificate of a satisfactory examination will be required before a vehicle licence can be granted in respect of a modified vehicle.

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